Lunar surface exploration
NASA Posts RFI for Lunar Terrain Vehicle
NASA’s Johnson Space Center is conducting market research to gauge industry’s ability to fulfill its lunar terrain vehicle requirements.
According to a request for information posted on SAM .gov, the space agency needs an LTV that can last for at least 10 years in support of multiple Artemis missions.
The vehicle is expected to enable astronauts to explore the lunar surface farther than before and exceed the area covered by previous Apollo rovers. In particular, LTVs are hoped to support a journey to the lunar south pole in the latter part of the decade, NASA reported Tuesday.
Without an LTV, astronauts would only be able to explore at most 2 kilometers from their landing site.
Per the general capability description provided by NASA, the ideal LTV should be designed to launch from commercial lunar payload services. It must be able to accommodate two suited crew members and carry at least 800 kilograms around the lunar south pole for distances up to 20 km without the need to recharge batteries.
One of NASA’s main concerns is the LTV’s ability to survive extended lunar night durations estimated to last at least 85 hours. The space agency believes that a vehicle equipped to survive a 125-hour extended lunar night duration would boost operational flexibility during periods of darkness.
NASA is open to the idea of purchasing the LTV as a commercial service. The approach would require the selected contractor to perform all activities and operations necessary to enable 10 years of service duration for the LTV.
Responses to the RFI are due Oct. 1.
Tags: Artemis Program Johnson Space Center LTV lunar south pole lunar terrain vehicle NASA RFI space